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Mandatory midday break begins in the UAE

Mandatory midday break begins in the UAE

Non compliance with the summer break rule could result in a fine of up to Dhs 50,000

The mandatory midday break for workers during the summer months will start from June 15 and end on September 15, the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has confirmed.

This is the 12th consecutive year that the ministry has issued the midday break decree.

The move prevents any sort of work that takes place under direct sunlight between 12:30pm and 3pm.

Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation Saqr bin Ghobash Saeed Ghobash said that the decree is focused on general safety and health procedures based on international standards, which the UAE adopts to prevent work related injuries.

Ghobash pointed out that the working hours for the three months will be divided into two shifts, morning and night, each of which would last eight hours.

If workers are made to work overtime, they must be given compensation accordingly.

The decree further states that employers are required to provide a clear schedule informing workers of their daily hours, taking into account the midday break. They must also be provided with shelter for their breaks.

The ministry has also urged employers to provide all means necessary to protect workers against any harm, injury or illness during their shifts and to educate them in keeping safe at the workplace.

However, exceptional cases in which the workers may be excluded from the break have also been established.

These cases include working on mixing asphalt poured concrete if it is not possible to implement or supplement the necessary work later. Cases would also include doing work to prevent expected danger or damage, such as cutting lines, water supply, sewerage, electricity and cutting off traffic or blocking public roads, in addition to cut gas pipelines or petroleum flow.

In such cases where continuous work is required, employers are responsible for providing workers with cold water along with other recommended items by the UAE’s health authorities, including salt and lemon. They must also provide first aid, air-conditioners and sunshade.

In order to ensure that the break has been implemented correctly, government officials plan to conduct 60,000 inspections in the UAE.

If an violation is found, the company will be fined Dhs 5,000 per worker with a maximum fine of Dhs 50,000 if the case involves a large number or workers. Companies may also run the risk of degradation and possibly even be temporarily stopped from operating.

Last year, when over 65,000 inspections were carried out, 99.9 per cent of the establishments had adhered to the rules with about 58 violations taking place.

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